Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 9, 2011

DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT THE $7.5 MILLION CLEAN-UP?.... Late last week, Republicans in Wisconsin raised a new concern about the pro-labor protests at the state capitol: they're making an expensive mess.

Specifically, the Walker administration said the repair and clean-up costs associated with the protests would cost Wisconsin taxpayers $7.5 million. Almost immediately, Fox News began trumpeting the price tag, with some of the network's on-air personalities calling the figure "infuriating."

Of course, in reality, what's actually "infuriating" is when people lie and news outlets with no professional standards mislead the public. The talking point about the $7.5 million clean-up was made up.

Think of it this way: If you paid someone $20 an hour, with a standard 40-hour workweek, that person would be peeling tape and scrubbing marble for 180 years. [...]

The culprit: Tape used to put up protest signs. The tape adhesive is acidic, the marble is a base, so, over time, the tape could etch the stone.

The damage claim rocketed around the Internet (such as here and here and here) and on news reports and talk shows around the world (here and here). Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch posted the figure on her Facebook page, generating more than 125 comments -- mostly from people condemning the protesters and the extraordinary level of damage they allegedly caused.

But other testimony and news reports from the Capitol indicated that something was amiss.

Protesters had, by all accounts, policed themselves, including creating cleanup details and other organizational efforts. They used blue painters' tape to hang their signs -- at the request of state officials. Some protesters said the state had actually provided the tape to avoid lasting damage.

Another talking point bites the bust.

On a more substantive note, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), who's refused to compromise, is privately letting Democrats know he'd consider a plan in which he'd only eliminate some collective bargaining rights for state workers. Dems see this as obviously insufficient, but as Greg Sargent noted, it's worth appreciating the significance of the governor feeling "the political need to drop his wholly uncompromising stance and refusal to negotiate -- both of which had won him plaudits from the right."

Steve Benen 9:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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Comments

Republican=Liar

Posted by: Gandalf on March 9, 2011 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

"Another talking point bites the bust."

But not until it has gone viral and caused yet another damaging image of the "Left".

When will the liberals among us start using guerilla tactics to Mau Mau the GOP?

Posted by: DAY on March 9, 2011 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

This man Walker is a real creep, I do not usually comment on someones appearance, but now I cannot look at those creepy eyes, one of which seems to have a problem, he looks like someone who can not look straight in someones face.Also the lies about the damage, and why would he keep giving press conferences saying he would not negotiate when he was doing just that, could it have been a trick to get the dems back. Anyway I hope he does not give in before Saturday, I would like to see the farmers driving their tractors to the capitol, of course our media probably won't cover it.

Posted by: j on March 9, 2011 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

Sounds like DAY is admitting that all liberals grew up in Kenya with Kenyan grandfathers.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on March 9, 2011 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

-I was referring to "Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers" a 1970 book by Tom Wolfe, NOT to the youthful Obama's history as an anti-colonial terrorist in Kenya!

Posted by: DAY on March 9, 2011 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

Note to all Republican policy-makers:

Don't touch the rights of Middle and Working Class Americans!

Well, let's test the proposition. Sixteen recalls going on in Wisconsin - 8 Republican senators, and 8 Democratic senators.

Mr. Benen, would you be so kind to give us humble and gentle readers some up date material on this political scorecard as it comes your way? -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on March 9, 2011 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Sounds like DAY has psychic powers!

Posted by: hells littlest angel on March 9, 2011 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

DAY!
You rock!!!

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 9, 2011 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

@ J ..You said it ..creepy. Asymmetrical is my word. When you look at the face head on the sides don't match ...kind of like a cloning experiment gone wrong... or alien invasion. I want answers.

Posted by: John R on March 9, 2011 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

On the flip side, the Republicans have been trying to make it seem as if the President is a gorilla and is Mau Mauing the nation.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 9, 2011 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

When I first heard that I thought Walker was hiring Halliburton to shampoo the carpets.

Posted by: bcinaz on March 9, 2011 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

"Another talking point bites the bust."

No, it has just been disproven. The talking point will live on.

Posted by: Perspecticus on March 9, 2011 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

So where did the $7.5million figure come from? I'm guessing Walker asked the state architect how much it would cost to replace the marble in the capitol, since it was "damaged" and got back some off the cuff guess. It would follow his usual rigid standards of research.

Posted by: martin on March 9, 2011 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

PLEASE, Democrats -- don't come home too soon, whatever enticements may come from Walker. At least not until the senate recalls are sufficiently underway. If the democrats cross the state line any time soon, they lose. They may "win" on collective bargaining in the short term, but the Republicans can still win in the longer term: having the democrats home they will be free to pursue the rest of their hideous agenda without mercy. That's what's in the back of every Republican's mind that's trying to get Walker to compromise right now. It's not a sudden respect for working families.

Posted by: Jack on March 9, 2011 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

I sincerely hope that assh*le Walker is feeling the heat. The Dems have him by the balls now - NO COMPROMISE! This guy needs to be made an example of, to let the rest of the corporatist teabaggers know what to expect the next time they try to bust a union or take hard-earned benefits away from working people.

Posted by: Patrick Star on March 9, 2011 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

I heard the protesters also stole all the "W"s from the keyboards in the Statehouse.

Posted by: kd bart on March 9, 2011 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

It actually WILL cost $7.5 million because Walker is planning to let out the no-bid contract to the same people who sell $5,000 hammers to the military. Of course he expects some of that money to revert to him, but that's another story.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on March 9, 2011 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Another talking point bites the bust.

I doubt that greatly.

Posted by: 400metres on March 9, 2011 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

This has the feel of a no-bid contract to one of Walker's donors.

Posted by: max on March 9, 2011 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Another talking point bites the bust. -- Steve Benen

Tough titty.

Posted by: exlibra on March 9, 2011 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

This was a lie tailor designed for Fox News and right wing talk radio, and was tied up and delivered to them with a bow.

Faced with rising popularity of the protesters (and his own rising unpopulatity, as his ultimatims, layoff notices and assorted threats failed to work), Walker had his sock puppets release this lie - which is clever, because it is a multi-pronged attack on the protestors' legitimacy. You see, if you buy this claim about the capital building getting damaged, you buy into framing that the protesters are actually being SELFISH and are COSTING THE WISCONSIN TAXPAYERS MONEY with their actions, and DEFILING THE CAPITAL BUILDING. They aren't exercising their democratic rights - they are WASTING YOUR TAX DOLLARS.

Walker is behaving like a squid being persued by a predator - he is darting this way and that, and squirting foul black ink in his wake, in the face of his enemies, as he tries to evade capture.

Posted by: Bokonon on March 9, 2011 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

When I first heard that I thought Walker was hiring Halliburton to shampoo the carpets.

I think that comment is worth a round of applause!

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on March 9, 2011 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

I have no doubt the $7.5 M figure is true. READ BELOW


“On March 4, 2011 -- the day after the number was revealed -- Huebsch’s office issued some documents backing up the alleged pricetag.

This included a March 2, 2011, memo from state architect Dan Stephans, who oversaw a $145 million restoration project in 2001. The memo says 400 hours of time by a "qualified team" would be needed to inspect the building and grounds for damage at a cost that could reach $500,000. In addition, he wrote, 240,000 square feet of the building need attention -- and it would take a crew of 20 a minimum of 12 weeks. That’s $6 million for the interior, and another $1 million to replace sod and shrubs outside.”

http://www.politifact.com

INSPECTION CREW

400 400 Hours by a qualified team
15 15 estimated number of team members
$40.00 $40/hour (Materials Engineers - ridiculously over qualified)
$13.32 Benefits at 33%
$53.32 Total direct labor cost/hour

$319,920 Total direct labor cost

$180,080 36.0% Overhead and profit of Republican owned private contractor

$500,000 Total Cost


CLEAN-UP CREW

20 Crew size
40 40 Hours/week
12 Weeks of work
9,600 Total Person-Hours
$16.00 $16/hour (1/2 Stone masons at $20/hr and 1/2 Janitors at $12/hr)
$5.33 Benefits at
$21.33 Total direct labor cost/hour

$204,749 Total direct labor cost

$5,795,251 96.6% Overhead and profit of Republican owned private contractor

$6,000,000 Total Cost


LANDSCAPE CREW

20 Crew size
40 40 Hours/week
4 Weeks of work
3,200 Total Person-Hours
$13.00 $13/hour (Landscapers and Supervisors)
$ 4.29 Benefits at 33%
$ 17.29 Total direct labor cost/hour

$55,328 Total direct labor cost

$944,672 94.5% Overhead and profit of Republican owned private contractor

$ 1,000,000 Total Cost

Posted by: Bob on March 10, 2011 at 6:39 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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